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One Step Closer to Ending Gender-Based Violence

One Step Closer to Ending Gender-Based Violence

Awareness and Community Mobilisation in Central African Republic

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Gender-based violence (GBV) is not only a serious human rights violation, it greatly damages public health. 

Violence and the threat of violence seriously damage a person’s physical and mental health—keeping women and girls from accessing education and participating in other aspects of public life. As such blocking the full potential of women and girls in this way also blocks the potential of society as a whole—thus GBV affects everyone negatively, in one way or another.

Gender inequality is the root cause to GBV. Complex issues relating to gender-based discrimination, gender-stereotypes and social norms cause and perpetuate gender inequality. For that reason, it is crucial for any approach to include everyone, not just women, in order to successfully address gender inequality.

International Medical Corps considers women’s health critically important for healthy communities. We provide GBV-survivors with services and work hard to reduce all forms of violence stemming from gender inequality. Given the devastating consequences violence has on women, our efforts are often aimed at GBV survivors. However, it is also essential to prevent it from taking place in the first place by addressing gender inequality.

In Central African Republic (CAR), a country ravaged by conflict and crisis, women and girls are vulnerable to abuse, rape and sexual exploitation. The situation became particularly bad after the 2016 clashes between armed groups. The fighting resulted in mass displacements and huge risks to the protection of civilians—with vulnerable groups particularly affected.

To respond to this emergency, International Medical Corps provides victims of gender-based violence with medical assistance, invests in community-based approaches and works with protection committees & community health workers (CHWs) to raise awareness about GBV.

With support from the European Union (ECHO), International Medical Corps hosted a so-called reflection workshop with community leaders focusing on human rights and referral mechanisms for survivors of gender-based violence. Thanks to the funding, we could also organise group-discussions on women’s rights, gender-based violence and local services available for GBV survivors.

Close to 30 community leaders from Bambari attended the workshop and 80 members of the community participated in the discussions, which were held at our local clinics. Several hundred community members ultimately benefitted from the activities.

Activities such as these and others like them are required to end violence against women. Raising awareness about GBV is one crucial step communities can take to prevent it, be it in Central African Republic or anywhere else in the world.

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